FOR Greg Ritchie, the grass is greener in retirement.
Four years ago the former sheep and cropping farmer left his Woorndoo property and settled at Bushfield and left many of the constant worries behind, including the weather.
“It’s green all year here,” he said of the lush surrounds.
“There’s no pressure of farming.
“We’re loving it. It’s a great spot, we built a new house.”
But the focal point of his and wife Glenda’s post-farming years is City Memorial Bowls Club. Glenda is the club’s ladies’ president and Greg is a dual division one pennant-winning member.
Today he will play third in Kevin McMahon’s City Memorial Red rink against Warrnambool White.
For a hard-running half-back flanker or wingman in Mortlake’s football grand final sides in the late 1960s, lawn bowls might not seem a natural progression.
“I’m fairly serious (about bowls),” the 65-year-old said.
He was also a long-time tennis player.
“I put it (playing lawn bowls) off for many years because of the farm.
“I went across to Lake Bolac one evening for a social night and had a roll and before I got home from there, someone had called and said I was put in a pennant side.”
That started a six-year career with Lake Bolac before retirement.
“I should have played years ago,” Ritchie said.
Now he is making up for lost time, playing three times a week.
He said the sport’s social opportunities were the over-riding motivation to play but pennant satisfied his competitive instincts.
Today he and his defending premier teammates are expecting a close round two Western District Bowls Division encounter with Warrnambool White at City Memorial.
The rivalry between Warrnambool’s two biggest clubs isn’t lost on Ritchie, despite White not being Warrnambool’s most fancied combination.
“We get on our game and we make sure we are doing the right things,” he said.
“Any time you play Warrnambool you have to be on your game. It’s always very competitive against Warrnambool.”
He said White was somewhat of an unknown quantity for his side.
“Who knows (what will happen) on the day.”
In other matches today, Timboon Gold hosts grand finalist Warrnambool Gold, Warrnambool Blue will look to remain undefeated in its clash with Dennington Red and Port Fairy Red will be chasing its first win of the season in its match against City Memorial Gold. Terang Green and Mortlake Blue will have their opening win after their encounter at Terang.